Introduction: Molecular Gastronomy Cocktails
Who doesn’t like to play with food??
So, what would you think about adding some drinks to the party?
These are some fun ideas for your next dinner party, or even a date. Very simple recipes with very impressive results. And of course, the sky is the limit with these recipes. You can make boozy drinks like I did, or a virgin version, you can make desserts and even incorporating them in savory dishes.
what is molecular gastronomy you may ask. Molecular gastronomy is food science striving to explore how the everyday ingredients used for cooking, changes physically and chemically during different cooking methods.
In this instructable we will try three different recipes: frozen strawberry vodka spheres, lemon mint caviar shot and white wine jelly.
The first Spherification we will test is a culinary process that includes sodium alginate and calcium lactate. The process shapes liquid into spheres, which resemble egg yolk in texture. Very exciting when they POP in your mouth.
The second Spherification or as I call it "caviar" spheres, includes only agar agar and a cup of cold oil. Another way of shaping any liquid into little spheres which resemble roe. The final product is round little jellies you can incorporate in anything you like. Those little jellies are addictive!
The third method is our white wine jelly. Just as it sounds, this is some fancy shmancy way to serve wine. Yet keeping it fun and interesting.
I hope by the time you finish reading this instructable you will have the desire to invite some friend and show off your new abilities.
Make sure you make a few extras since you WILL "try" a few while making them.
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment Needed:
Frozen strawberry vodka spheres:
10g lychee liquor
80g club soda
40g frozen strawberries
24 fresh mint leaves
1000g tap water
2 mixing bowls
Tablespoon (optional: slotted spoon)
Lemon mint caviar shot:
0.25 Tsp. agar agar
86g any juice (I used lemon and mint)
1 cup vegetable oil
White wine jelly:
1/2 cup white wine (or any wine)
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs (2 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup club soda (or lemon-flavored soda)
Edible glitter (a MUST in every kitchen)
Any silicone mold
** all flavors are changeable. Feel free to change any flavor you don’t like. As long as you keep the ratios, right it should work perfectly.
Step 2: Making the Frozen Strawberry Vodka Spheres:
The technique used in these spheres section is called frozen reverse Spherification. It involves freezing the actual drink, which helps the spheres be more precise in shape and reduce the time when making them.
Mixing calcium in the drink then freezing and bathing them in sodium bath causes an interaction between those two ingredients creating a gel like skin around the drink.
The result is a creative and fun way serving some cocktails at your next gathering.
It's a real flavor explosion.
In a bowl sitting on a kitchen scale, combine lemon, strawberries and soda together to a total of 135g.
Blend in Blender until well blended.
Place vodka and the liquor together on the scale looking for a total weigh of 60g and add to blender.
Blend for a few seconds.
Add mint leaves and calcium lactate.
Blend well to ensure the calcium has completely dissolved.
Pour mixture into the silicone mold and place in the freezer until completely frozen.
In a large bowl add sodium to the tap water and use blender stick to blend them together.
Blend well until fully combined!
wait for about 15 minutes until the water becomes a little clearer and bubbles are mostly gone.
Prepare another water bath so you can wash the spheres in it.
Take the frozen cocktail out of the freezer and place them in the sodium bath.
Keep stirring the bath water so the spheres won't stick the bottom or each other.
I don’t recommend overcrowding the bowl.
Once the sphere solution melts, a thin layer forms around it.
Keep stirring until the sphere becomes round.
If you stir for too long the sphere's skin will get thicker, I personally like it thin but nothing to worry about if that happens.
Using a slotted spoon remove the spheres from the sodium bath and place in water bath.
Place spheres on a spoon and serve.
When "drinking", place the entire sphere in your mouth then pop it!
**in order to make them a day ahead, place in an airtight container filled with water. They will stay the same for 2-3 days before they'll start deflating,
Step 7: The Science Behind the Frozen Strawberry Vodka Spheres:
The spheres created as a result of the interaction between sodium alginate and calcium lactate. This method is also known as frozen reverse Spherification.
What is sodium alginate? Alginate is a molecule you can find in seaweed. It's a type of carbohydrate known as polysaccharide.
The molecule is also known as gum due to its ability to thicken liquid. It differs from other hydrocolloids (gelatin etc.) since it thickens liquids only when ions such as calcium are around.
Sodium alginate= sodium salt of alginate.
Calcium salts: once the salt dissolves it breaks into charged ions (+ & -).
Different calcium salts have a different amount of calcium in them.
In calcium lactate there are 18.4% of calcium ions.
Calcium ions replace sodium ions when bonding to alginate. in order to become a stable molecule, the calcium makes two bonds for completing their electron shell.
The molecules become as a huge network and are unable to move.
*your spheres are supposed to sink in the bath. If not, it can be because of trapped air bubbles or your inner liquid is lighter then you bath water. To solve that you should add something that will increase the density of your inner liquid
* When using the reverse Spherification methods, you should avoid using mineral water for the alginate bath. Tap water would work great.
* Storing the spheres: you can save them in water though their taste will fade. For keeping their flavor, you can save the spheres in their inner fluid without the calcium.
Another option is keeping them in oil, since oil and water don’t mix.
Step 8: Making the Lemon Mint Caviar Shot:
This recipe is also very simple. We are using agar agar, which is a plant-based jelly-like substance. So, all vegans out there- this one's for you! This method for our lemon caviar is cold oil Spherification. The agar agar is our thickening agent, when combined with cold oil it creates those tiny spheres.
The spheres in this section are solid as opposed to first recipe where the spheres are liquid.
Fill a cup with vegetable oil. Place the cup in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes.
When 25 minutes has passed measure juice then place in a small saucepan.
Add agar agar and lightly whisk.
Place saucepan on a small flame letting it simmer, continue whisking.
Take off saucepan just before it boils. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
You can use a thermometer to check the temperature. The desired temperature will be around 52deg Celsius. If you don’t owe a thermometer, don’t worry, just wait 5 minutes. It should feel warm and still appear liquidy.
Take the cup of oil out of the freezer.
Take the Squeeze bottle and pour the juice in it. Then start dropping into the oil cup, holding the bottle a few inches above the surface.
This part is extremely exciting as you can sea your little caviar forming.
Don’t worry if your caviar is floating. Hold the bottle a few inches higher. Anyway, the new drops will push the drops the\at float on the surface.
You should work fast since the temperatures are changing as you go.
Pour the caviar filled cup into a sieve above the sink.
Lightly rinse so the excess oil comes off. Your caviar is ready.
If used for a party or just a gathering pour some of the caviar into a shot glass and add your desired alcohol drink. It makes shots seem so classy.
** you can also save them for later in an airtight container.
Step 13: The Science Behind the Lemon Mint Caviar Shot:
This method also called jellification, thickens the liquid creating a solid texture pearls.
Agar agar sets at higher temperature (32-43 deg Celsius) as opposed to other gelling agents. And since that oil cannot freeze, it is cold enough to instantly gel the agar agar liquid and has high viscosity, the liquid drops will take longer to reach the bottom so by the time they do, the spheres are completely set.
The agar agar gel retains its firmness up to 85 degrees Celsius, which makes it perfect to consume at almost any temperature we usually eat.
It is much stronger than gelatin, so you can use much less in the same recipe.
Step 14: Making the White Wine Jelly:
Do you know what jello shots are? Well, these are their fancy sister. Now that we are all grown up, and of course very classy, it's time to start appreciating a good glass of wine. But what's the fun about that? So why not taking the wild jello shots idea and replacing the vodka with wine making it way more fun to "drink" and have such a classy vibe.This recipe is once again so simple to make. Any gathering (or just a Tuesday evening) will become so much fun with these jellies.
Add wine & lemon juice to a small saucepan.
Sprinkle gelatin and wait for about 2-3 minutes. No need to stir.
Heat the mixture over a medium heat while whisking until gelatin Is completely dissolved.
Take off before boiling. Add soda and whisk.
Organize frozen berries in the silicone mold then Pour mixture over and sprinkle some edible sparkle. Refrigerate for about 3-4 hours.
When set, place silicone mold in a hot water bath for just a few seconds so it'll be easier to take out.
Do not let the water get in the mold.
Flip the silicone mold and lightly tap.
The jellies should come out very easily. If not, place them back in the hot bath.
And that’s it. Perfect wine jellies. Such a simple idea yet so much fun to eat!
Step 19: The Science Behind White Wine Jelly:
Why does jelly set? In our bodies you can find a protein named collagen. It's made from three protein fibers wrapped around each other.
Gelatin as we buy, made from collagen that originates in animal's bones and skin.
When gelatin is heated and combined with water, the protein fibers separate so the jelly is melting. When cooling, the protein fibers join while trapping water molecules in between. So, most water molecules are trapped, and less are still free to move around. That's what makes the jelly set.
In the past, people used gelatin even before it was in store. For example, boiling bones is still being used at some cultures and recipes.
Second Prize in the
Science of Cooking